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The Development of Scientific Writing Linguistic Features and Historical Context by David Banks

The Development of Scientific Writing Linguistic Features and Historical Context

Part of the Functional Linguistics Series


The Development of Scientific Writing Linguistic Features and Historical Context by David Banks

This book traces the development of the scientific journal article as a linguistic genre in terms of its linguistic features. It looks at Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe , as the first technical text written in English. Texts by Boyle, Power and Hooke from the late seventeenth century are then considered. This leads to the detailed analysis of a corpus of texts taken from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society covering the period 1700 to 1980. The main linguistic features studied are passive forms, first person pronouns, nominalization, and thematic structure. From the study of these linguistic features emerges a picture of the development of science where the physical sciences can be distinguished form the biological. The physical sciences are experimental from the beginning of this period, whereas the biological sciences only begin to become so towards the middle of the nineteenth century. Until then they are observational. With the turn of the twentieth century the physical sciences adopt mathematical modelling as their major focus, a feature which has not affected the biological sector by the end of the period under study. Thus it is seen that the language is intimately related to the context within which it is produced.

About the Author

David Banks holds a degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, a doctorate from the Universite de Nantes, and an HDR (Habilitation a Diriger des Recherches) from the Universite de Bordeaux 2. Born in Newcastle in 1943, he has been living abroad since 1975, initially in Iraq, and subsequently in France. He is currently Professor of English Linguistics at the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest). He is head of ERLA (Equipe de Recherche en Linguistique Appliquee) and Chairman of AFLSF (Association Francaise de la Linguistique Systemique Fonctionnelle).

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Book Info

Publication date

1st July 2008


David Banks

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Equinox Publishing Ltd


224 pages


Literary studies: general



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